Recently, flipping through a lifestyle magazine, I saw a recipe for sticky pork that asked for 3½ hours of cooking and two changes of liquor before finishing off with a third, discarding the previous pan juices (ie THROWING THEM AWAY!) All that beautiful stock down the drain? Such a waste of flavour and goodness.
So, here is a farm-frugal, no-waste recipe that takes an hour to cook and gives a lovely piece of sticky pork that is soft but not too pretentious. It combines the classic four flavours - sweet, sour, salty, spicy - which is all one really needs. For time management, the pork can be marinated a day ahead; or cooked one or two days beforehand for picnic fare.
PORK BELLY from the farm
Time: 10 minutes to prepare; 1 hour to cook
Serves: 4 - 6
You will need: Heavy-based frypan or large pot; bowl; plastic bag; spoon.
1 kg lean pork belly (skin on)
Use a marinade of:
½ cup honey
¼ cup lime or lemon juice
¼ cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp5-spice powder
(Options: Instead of soy, use water with ½ teaspoon salt. Apricot or plum jam does just as well as honey.)
1. Place pork in a plastic bag; add well mixed marinade; slip-slop the bag about to coat the pork then squeeze out the air and twist up to close the bag.
2. Place bag in a dish, in case there is a leak, and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum. (Overnight is better.)
1. Remove pork from marinade; keep the liquid in the bag to use in Step 3.
2. Place pork skin-side down in dry frypan on moderate heat. Cook 5-10 minutes with lid on until skin is blistery and sticky. Turn the meat; brown flesh-side about 1 minute only.
3. Add ¾ cup water to marinate in the bag; slosh it around to mix and pour into the pan (snip off a corner to make a spout).
4. Bring to boil and drop heat back to simmer with lid on 30 minutes.
5. Turn the pork skin-side down; cook further 20 minutes until liquid has reduced to consistency of thick sticky sauce. Add more water if needed.
6. Lastly, let meat rest in pan and juices, lid on, for 15-20 minutes to firm up slightly before slicing.
Serve hot in thick chunks with rice; or cold next day, sliced thinly. Excellent in rice paper wraps or on fresh bread rolls for a picnic, or for the lunchbox.
Here are some quick-and-easy marinading alternatives. Mix-and-match according to flavours you like or ingredients in the cupboard.
- For a most robust marinate try ½ cup soy, ½ cup plum jam, 1 teaspoon 5-spice and chopped or dried red chilli to taste.
- For a very simple fruity marinate add ½ cup pureed mango or peach to the base marinade (a jar of baby mash does if the fresh fruit is not to hand).
- And, easiest of all, with just two ingredients: ½ cup pureed fruit and ½ cup brown BBQ sauce.
To prove the point, here is the world’s simplest side dish to serve with your piece of picnic pork. With just two ingredients, the recipe is in the naming.
|Cucumber and red onion salad|
Written and complied by two frogs.